A Framework Linking Community Empowerment and Health Equity: It Is a Matter of CHOICE

Susan B. Rifkin

Abstract


This paper presents a framework to explore the relationship between health equity and community empowerment. It traces the progression of the concept of participation to the present term of empowerment and the links among empowerment, equity, and health outcomes. It argues that the relationship can best be described by using the acronym CHOICE (Capacity-building, Human rights, Organizational sustainability, Institutional accountability, Contribution, and Enabling environment). Based on the concept of development as freedom put forward by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, the paper describes how each factor illustrates the relationship between equity and empowerment in positive health outcomes, giving appropriate examples. In conclusion, it is suggested that these factors might form the basis of a tool to assess the relationship between equity and empowerment and its impact on health outcomes.

Key words:  Empowerment; Health equity; Community participation; Health outcomes


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